Here are five ideas to build a better blog in 2012. Perhaps they will stimulate you to come up with a few more. (If you have some creative goals, pass them on to me, I’ll select the most original ideas and share them with my readers.)
1. Polish your published blog entries for 2011. Let’s start 2012 with a “warm-up” exercise. Start by reviewing some of your 2011 blog posts. What could you have said better? How could you tighten things up? Any redundancies to cut? Any typos to clean up? Need to add clarity? What about your blog headlines? Do they grab the reader? Do they offer a list of tips? (Readers love quick tips.) Are your headlines and blog content “How To” oriented? What about the photos you used? Do they deliver on the promise of the headline? Is there a more appropriate photo to illustrate your main point? Does your blog need more color? Photos are a great way to add vivid color. Polish one 2011 blog entry per week to warm-up and build momentum before you write your 2012 blog entry.
2. Create a six-month editorial calendar. Are you writing your blog week to week? If you are, that’s like writing a novel without an outline; you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. Take that pressure off yourself by compiling a list of blog ideas that will last six months. Think about it. If you are blogging once a week, you need only four topics a month or 24 for six months. Invest a few hours generating ideas and then write the headline and the lead paragraph for just the first four posts. You are now ready to write an entire month of blog entries. And since you wrote the headline and opening paragraph already, you have momentum to quickly pick up where you left off. What’s more, when you have a schedule of upcoming blog ideas you can promote what’s coming next week to your readers.
3. Recycle past and present blog entries into article ideas. Ever wonder how busy pastors write books so quickly? They recycle sermons. Sermon ideas can be easily adapted into articles, devotions, or “thoughts for the day.” Does the term “recycle” bother you? Okay, let’s use “re-purpose.” Today, so much content is re-purposed. What have you written in your blog in 2011 (or will write in 2012) that can be re-purposed for a short article? Change the headline, modify the slant, and reorganize the flow of the article and you have a new piece that may be perfect for a magazine article. Review all of your blog entries with this in mind. Again, if you write just one blog a week, by the end of the year you have 52 potential re-purposed article ideas.
4. Review your blog stats and look for trends. A good friend of mine showed me how stats uncover hidden stories. He even created a blog based solely on sports stats and the compelling stories they tell. (www.statsontapp.wordpress.com). For instance, if you have a WordPress blog, they provide several stats that tell the story of your blog. You can rank all of your posts and see which were the most popular. Then look at when you wrote them. Is there any seasonality to your ideas? Is there any topic that appealed most to your audience? Is there any variance in your writing style that made your post more gripping? Analyze your stats by day, week, month, or view your blog’s entire history. Is there a significant variance in hits by month? Are you building steam or losing steam? Why? Examine your stats and as my friend would say, “find the story behind the numbers.”
5. Promote your blog in 2012. As a freelance executive speechwriter and advertising copywriter for almost ten years, I learned long ago that a writer is also a salesman. Any freelance writer that doesn’t think he is a salesman won’t be a writer very long. You need to promote your blog. It’s critical to increase traffic. You live in cyberspace, not everyone knows your address. So, register your blog on Google and other search engines. Post often to keep your audience interested. Post your blog entries on Facebook. Ask your Facebook friends to plug your blog on their wall. When someone comments on your blog, return the favor. This cross-promotes your blog. Set up an RSS feed and use a subscription box to gain followers. Use links and tags to assist search engines. Google “How to drive traffic to your blog.” Read as much as you can about promoting your blog so people can find you.
These are just five ideas to help you reach your blogging goals in the New Year. Got more ideas? Send me your creative blogging goals to share with my readers. Your creative ideas just might be the first thing you get published in 2012.
The Writer’s Refuge blog is a place for writers, like you, to break away from your daily routine and for just a few minutes find insight, inspiration or simply a word of encouragement.
Blog entries are posted on Thursday.
You may contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Art of Blog Promotion-37 Simple Effective Ways That Work (alltopstartups.com)